Times have changed, and so has the publishing industry. While once, blogging 70 or 80 percent of your book was acceptable—even desirable, these days, many literary agents and pubishers shy away from book projects consisting of “previously published” content. Even 50 percent may turn some—not all—traditional publishers away.
Of course, blogging a book remains an effective way to write and promote a self-published project. The idea of building platform as you publish posts continues to produce books with a built-in audience ready and willing to purchase the final product. After all, they’ve invested time and energy consuming your blog posts. They’ve been part of your creative process, and now they want to enjoy the fruits of your labor—and their interest and attention.
Whether you plan to publish your book independently or traditionally, it’s worth revisiting the idea of blogging your book. However, I’d suggest trying a new strategy—microblogging on social media.
A New Social Media Strategy for Blogging Books
Hopefully, you are already using a social media strategy. I always suggested sharing your blogged-book posts on as many social media sites as possible. You can’t expect people to just show up on your blog, especially if your site is new. (If you build it—your blog, they—readers—may not come…for a long time!) You must invite them by sharing content links in places they will see them.
However, you also can use social media sites for blogging small portions of your book. I’m talking about microblogging.
Microblogging is posting brief and often frequent updates online. Once upon a time, when Google “liked” short pieces of content, you could publish a post containing 150 words or so. I have known bloggers who did so many times a day. Now, Google rewards longer posts—those over 800 words, making it hard to post that often.
Microblog posts have morphed into short updates published on social media sites, like Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. However, my idea for blogging books stemmed from a mention of someone microblogging an already published novel one sentence at a time on Twitter.
Own Your Site!
Before we dive deeper into this topic, please, know that I am not recommending that you use social media primarily when releasing content. As always, I recommend having your own website, which houses your blog. If possible, avoid free or low-cost blog options and choose to purchase hosting so you own your site.
Your self-hosted site is where you publish your posts—those that are part of our blogged-book manuscript as well as any others. By publishing them first on your site, you establish ownership of the posts. You also can copyright your posts if you like. (Copyright laws have changed recently and how to register online content is still up in the air a bit.)
In any case, don’t rely on another site to host your content for free. Social media sites are not always permanent—consider Google Plus, which no longer exists. And the companies that run them make the rules—think how Facebook controls who sees what content.
The Microblogging Blogged-Book Strategy
So, how do you microblog your blogged-book manuscript on social media, especially if I am saying not to rely on these sites? Easy. Just follow these steps.
1. Create a microblog post.
You will need an outline for your book. This includes a table of contents and chapter summaries or a detailed chapter-by-chapter outline.
Using this outline, begin writing small pieces of content that you later can use in your manuscript. These become microblog posts.
I think of this as a few sentences or paragraphs that get my creative juices flowing. In the same way, it will pique the interest of your social media followers.
Microblog posts do not need to be polished final-draft quality. In fact, they should not be! They are snippets of first draft content you will later expand and polish, which means the content will be “new” not “previously published.”
2. Check the character count of your microblog post.
Be aware that social media sites have different character-count requirements. Each of your microblog posts will need to meet these requirements. Therefore, you might have to rewrite several times to create short and long versions.
Twitter only allows 280-character tweets, although those with 100 characters get 17% higher engagement rates than longer Tweets, reports Sproutsocial.com. And you want to leave a little space for a few hashtags.
You can include up to 2,200 characters in your Instagram captions. To maximize engagement on your Instagram posts, stick to 138–150 character-long posts, says Sproutsocial.com. Leave space for a few hashtags or, better yet, put them in a comment.
LinkedIn accepts posts up to 120,000 characters. Still, the ideal length of a status update on this site is under 100 characters, according to Sproutsocial.com.
While Socialsprout.com claims shorter Facebook status updates outperform longer ones, you can write a post with up to 63,206 characters in length.
3. Expand your microblog posts into a manuscript or full-length blog posts.
Hopefully, you created your microblog posts in a Word document. If you didn’t, copy and paste the posts into a document.
Now, expand the microblog posts into manuscript content. Each tiny bit of content becomes the start of a chapter section. If you are blogging your book, expand each microblog post into an entire blog post as well as part of the manuscript.
Reverse: Blogged Book to Microblog Post
If you have a manuscript written or you’ve been blogging your book, you can use the content you’ve already produced to create microblog posts. Just grab snippets of the content to share on social media.
This strategy is very similar to the one I propose in How to Blog a Book. I recommend that you share every blogged-book post on social media. To do that, you need at least a little content plus the link to the post. If you are microblogging a book, you don’t have a blog post yet. So, you can’t share a link to a blog post. However, you can share a link to your website or blog—just not to a specific post.
If you’re struggling to write your manuscripts or feel overwhelmed by the book or blog-to-book writing process, microblogging may be just the kickstart you need. The little snippets of content you create and share on social media sites will make writing an entire book feel doable. Plus, microblogging will help you clarify your book concept and get excited about the process of writing it.
When your social media followers engage with your content, you’ll become motivated to complete the project. Not only that, you’ll know you have a built-in audience for the book.
Have you tried microblogging your book? Tell me in a comment below, and please share this post with another writer.
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